Digital Migration

Taking steps to move the needle on digital migration

By Niresh Shao 14 August 2011

Businesses are proving pretty successful at embracing digital communications, but often fall short when it comes to integrating these digital technologies into a comprehensive communications approach that can really boost bottom-line results. Just consider these findings from a recent DMA study:

Of those marketers that have begun to align their messages across channels, only 27% report effective integration. This means that 3 of 4 companies still feel their integration efforts are incomplete – and this in the area where integration is most advanced.

It’s no secret that it costs less to send an email than a letter or an e-bill than a paper statement—but that doesn’t mean that email, e-billing and other forms of digital information delivery will totally usurp the place of their hardcopy counterparts. Consumers want and expect choice and every new channel creates challenges for companies and their lines of business in determining how best to migrate to digital delivery in ways that address customer preferences and benefit the business.

So it’s not surprising the some companies that have been promoting paperless communications have hit a wall—and efforts to convert customers from paper to e-communications no longer provide a lift.  Perhaps it’s time to try a new approach.

Data holds the key

In their Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2011-2015, PwC reports: “Data is key to the interface between consumers, content experience and brand as well as to innovation.”  And that holds true for virtually every industry.  Today, there is so much data, so much insight to be gleaned from it, and so many opportunities to improve service and communications through its use, that data emerges as the real lynchpin in optimizing the benefits of digital migration.

Putting data to use for maximum multichannel impact

Unfortunately, at most companies, data and communication platforms – like the companies themselves – are siloed.  Therein lies the challenge.  With each new channel and line-of-business, the number of silos continues to grow –but customers don’t care. They just want their interactions to be straightforward and simple: the right messages, delivered through the right channels at the right times and questions answered accurately and efficiently, regardless of point of contact.

Resolution of this problem can be boiled down to two key steps – and today’s powerful communications engines have both built in:

Step 1 is all about data quality, making data fit for use by scrubbing it, standardizing it, adding important insights like customer geodata and channel preferences – and automating this process so data quality is maintained over time.  In many ways, it’s not about creating new data or datamarts, but rather making existing data more accessible to business users.

Step 2 is about using that data from all across the enterprise to deliver communications and service through the channels customers choose in an efficient and automated fashion.  Smart printstream engineering, document vaults and multichannel communication platforms can drive delivery of communications regardless of medium.  It can be prioritized a driven by choices from different lines of business.  And, in the end, it can result in:

Better print Modify print streams on the fly and add personalized messagesInsert relevant offers that surprise and delight customers

Add Intelligent Mail® barcodes and gain valuable postal discounts

Better digital Deliver print documents online – as is, or specially formatted for digital deliverySupport every medium including email, SMS and web

Offer online bill payment

Better service Enable customers to communicate through their preferred channelsEnable customers to view their account in real time

Retrieve archived documents, regardless of delivery channel,  in seconds for rapid response

The easiest and most flexible of these solutions actually supplement rather than supplanting existing systems – they act as connectors that transform and channel data for optimal use.

Don’t just migrate – integrate

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e Statements Part2

e-statements part 2 – mining the possibilities

23rd Feb 2011 by Niresh Shao

So your e-statement project is complete! You have gone to market with the ultimate in transpromo statements including:

  • high quality imagery that is precisely matched to each client
  • integrated messaging that links back to your core website marketing metrics
  • near real-time response rate monitoring
  • the ability to minutely tweak offerings to ensure they are performing at their absolute peak

– is that a yes I hear?  I didn’t think so.

The day after launching your e-statements is thrilling with everyone patting each other on the back for a job well done. And it is a job well done – just not finished.  We encourage our clients to maintain a 6 month change and improvement list that is continually driven by customer and staff feedback.  The reality of these systems is that if you are not actively driving the system forward you are likely only using about 25 to 40% of the systems capability – but for 100% of the price.

Where do you start to mine additional value from your e-statements? I know a very professional online marketing consultant whose favourite phrase is follow the numbers.  E-statements have the ability to generate click=through and viewing statistics.  They can be hooked up to your online analytic engines and deliver direct and above all accurate numbers to base your planning on.  So do it and camp on those numbers.  There is a period of base lining but after that you should be looking for improvements every single month.

Don’t just focus on the e-statements. Watching how people are reacting to your messaging across all of your channels allows you to use the feedback to influence future channel & segment plans.  There is nothing better than delivering a message on a statement that is repeated as the client logs into online banking and is also mentioned in the footer of an SMS message and appears on the reverse of a letter.  If the message can be tied to an eye catching visual this is even better as it simply drives home your offering and branding.

Consistency across all client communication channels. Make sure your e-statement messaging is backed up with targeted messaging on the website,  letters, SMS and other communication that is sent, and lets not forget the call centre and account managers they all have their roles to play in this.  The modern CCM platforms from HP/Exstream, Xenos, Thunderhead, EMC, Isis-Papyrus, iDocs, PitneyBowes and others are more than capable of managing this kind of concerted push – but even if you have a different system it can still deliver the key elements!

There will be gasps of shock and horror at the additional work involved when you first broach these ideas with the other departments involved in getting your statements produced, but those are just normal reactions to change.  Your vision will motivate your team other teams need to see different visions and benefits presented in wildly different ways.  This is where we spend a lot of our time and effort, bridging the internal understandings gap.

So how would I summarise this post? Do it, track it and react – keep changing and trying new ideas and never settle for where you are today.

Feel free to send me your questions about any of the information covered here or leave a comment below – you can reach me through the office on+2731 566 4596

Until next time…

Niresh Shao

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e-Statements for Today

The e-Statement Blog
e-statements part 1 – getting customers to give up paper!
19th Feb 2011 by Niresh Shao
We want to share some of our observations from our client engagements that focus on e-statements. The topics we will cover over the next few posts are based on our experiences of areas where our clients had been missing golden opportunities to improve their results or reduce their costs.

We hope our observations help you find areas where you can make improvements, extract additional savings or simply increase your results!

What do we mean by e-statements?
On the simplest level they are transactional account statements delivered over the internet either as PDF attachments to e-mails (we will ignore the security implications of that for this discussion) or as online web pages where a client can view and download a PDF as part of their online banking.

One of the main drivers our clients cite for moving to e-statements is that e-statements reduce their overheads whilst ‘improving the client experience’ – which is wonderful we agree, but misses the full impact that an e-statements project can deliver as part of an intelligent client communication approach.

Overcoming the ‘so what’ factor
Why do e-statements look the same as paper statements? This is where we see a lot of initiatives fail before the project has even started. E-statements have none of the restrictions of paper statements – e-statements can use full colour images, text and the full power of your designers’ imaginations – within tastefully set boundaries of course. So why not make use of the chance to truly enhance the power of the statements?

Creating a perceived value gap between e & paper statements is easy when you have a medium that encourages change. on each envelope. Differentiating your e-statements from existing paper statements through clever design is a starting point but online banking is more convenient and the information in the e-statements can be more easily understood if it is presented using the full power of internet standards. So don’t hold back – you may even want to undermine you paper statements by printing the CO2 cost

Give people more! Barclaycard have a wonderful spending analysis tool. It displays charts with splits based on basic categories (food, entertainment, music etc). VISA is doing most of the hard work as they provide the transaction categories in the data feeds. This interactive chart is useful, in a small way – but it engages the customer which is far more important. The client can perform simple drill down on their monthly and quarterly spending which allows them to feel more in control of their money.

The perceived value gap can be used to drive an uptake in the numbers of people switching to e-statements and online banking. The savings our clients typically see come from three key areas:

reduction in the paper being sent to the customer
reduction in branch usage
reduction in call centre account queries
Those reductions are wonderful things – but the real value is derived from where they see increases:

increase in customer satisfaction
increase in opportunities to deliver targeted offerings to individual clients
increase in response rates to targeted offerings
increase in measurability of marketing spend
We have worked with a bank that is using the above approach very aggressively and they have doubled the monthly sign-up rate to online banking. In the future, as part of their corporate sustainability programme, they plan to charge clients for paper statements and these will be identical to the e-statements and produced in full colour – with the additional cost being covered by a subscription payment that includes carbon offsetting for the production and delivery of the statement. That should happen within 18 months and will effectively move their statement run to a revenue generating activity.

That’s it for this post – feel free to send me your questions about any of the information covered here or leave a comment below – you can reach me through the office on +2731 566 4596 or contact me through the website.

Until next time…

Niresh Shao

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